School administration is a key determinant for the realization of desired outcomes and success in both public and private schools hence is seen as critical by all stakeholders. Gray and Smith (2007) observe that the twenty-first century principal administrator faces numerous challenges emanating from the technology. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are increasingly used and viewed as important in all spheres of operation including education. This requires effective and dynamic school administration. (In this study, Information and Communication Technologies, ICT, refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications in general but specifically to computers.)
Consequently, Whitehead, Jensen, and Boschee (2003) are concerned that “the current movement toward putting the latest technology into classrooms is causing educators to reassess school programs and policies and to examine the impact computers and other data-processing equipment are having on teaching and learning” (p. 3).
Due to these rapid changes, administrators and other educators globally are compelled to carefully analyse the academic and social needs of their students. Maki (2008) stipulates that ICT plays a vital role in supporting powerful, efficient management and administration in the education sector: technology can be used from student administration (i.e., students’ record) to various resource administration in an education institution. According to Zainally (2008), “ICT provides several facilities and possibilities for educational administrators to perform their tasks” (p. 283). In
this regard, Voogt and Knezek (2008) observe that the development of computer technology from processing information to supporting communication augmented its potential for education. Our society, without exception, is in transition towards an information society due to the enormous impact of these technologies in all facets of life. However, the importance and use of ICT in schools in Kenya differ from one district to the other due to a number of factors including academic, economic, political, and cultural levels of development.
Although ICT use in secondary school administration in Kenya and Kuria Districts in particular, appears to be a new concept and a complex change, Fullan (1993) advises that there is an urgent need to unpack the complexity of change to provide guidance for those who must deal with it. Also, Day and Leithwood (2007) remark that this is the ‘golden age’ of school leadership change. Educators should re-examine their attitudes, perceptions, plans, and implementation of ICT in their daily administrative operations however challenging it might be. This is central to the success with which favoured solutions actually work in schools. If the new technology is being embraced by students and teachers, including computers as educational tools; it is imperative that school administrators, as key educators, also embrace it for effective administration.
Since the mid-1980s, the scope and pace of change around the world have accelerated dramatically. The work of administrators has changed in organizations, including schools, from manual and mechanical to electronic data processing, storage, output, and communication hence the importance of ICT use. Taylor and Hogenbirk (2001) suggest that the transformational rate of change might find professionals outdated in their own profession, thus countries that do not integrate policies of scientific and technology development with education components will be left behind.
Kuria District Secondary School educators are no exception; they face the challenge of change in their operations. Hallinger (1995) says
Increased access internationally to ICT has also had an impact on administration of organizations…thus an understanding of how culture shapes both the nature of leadership and the portability of knowledge is increasingly salient to both scholars and professionals throughout the world (pp. 1, 4 ).
This study endeavoured to establish educators’ perceptions of the importance and extent to which administrators use ICT, which had not previously been explored in this area. The findings would be used to recommend possible measures to be taken by the Ministry of Education, school managers, school administrators and other interested stakeholders for effective school administration.
Administrators’ participation in professional development is crucial for any meaningful change to occur as they have a vital role to play. Data use in school administration currently ranges over multiple areas, informing administrators about demographics, school processes, student learning, as well as perceptions and projections (Bernhardt, (2000)). These examples are included to encourage teachers and administrators to get started on data analysis and database work, wherever they are, for school improvement.